Benchmarking and Disclosure

As you know, several major cities, including Boston; Chicago; Minneapolis; New York; Philadelphia; Seattle; and Washington, D.C., have mandated or announced plans to require commercial-building owners make their buildings’ energy use public. Like it or not, benchmarking and disclosure are the hot new trends among city governments. However, many building owners and facility managers have no idea where to begin with meeting these mandates.

Fortunately, the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub, or EEB Hub, which was established by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2011, has created tools to help meet the requirements. The EEB Hub, which is headquartered in Philadelphia’s retrofitted Navy Yard, consists of more than 150 senior investigators from research universities, global industrial firms and national laboratories, as well as 90 graduate students, who are performing research projects. Their goal is to develop and integrate materials, technologies, models and tools to optimize whole-building energy performance.

With retrofit’s mission to improve yesterday’s buildings for today, we jumped at the chance to partner with the EEB Hub to help tell its story and share its tools with our readers. Consequently, retrofit’s longtime friend and business associate Scott Kriner, principal of Green Metal Consulting, Macungie, Pa., who introduced us to the EEB Hub, volunteered to spend a day in February at the Navy Yard to learn more about the hub’s energy-benchmarking projects.

Kriner’s visit resulted in a series of videos that provide background about benchmarking and disclosure mandates and describe how to meet these requirements. Laurie Actman, deputy director of the EEB HUB; David Hsu, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and Alex Dews, LEED AP, policy and program manager for the city of Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, were gracious enough to share their time and knowledge with us.

The first video, titled “Benchmarking & Disclosure: Purposes and Goals”, is available under the “Services/Organizations” tab on In addition, like our January/February issue, we’ve made this issue interactive. If you download the free Layar Augmented Reality app and hover over this column on page 8 of the magazine with your smartphone or tablet, the EEB Hub video will automatically play. We hope you find the work the EEB Hub is doing as interesting as we do. We’ll update you when more videos about its work are available.

The EEB Hub video isn’t the only video we embedded into the pages of this issue. Anywhere you see the Layar Augmented Reality icon (a smartphone) in the magazine, a video has been embedded to bring the magazine’s content to life. For example, view the Mayo Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom in its dilapidated state by hovering over our cover story, page 28 in the magazine, or by visiting retrofitTV and clicking on the “Project Walkthroughs” tab. Building on whether zero waste in construction and renovation is attainable—the topic of the “Trend Alert” article, page 68—are two Tedx talks that discuss how to make waste a resource. (View those videos here and here.) Following the “Trend Alert” article, page 75, are five programs and one product to help you recycle on your next retrofit project. One of the programs—Tarkett’s ReStart Recycling and Reclamation program—features a video that further explains how Tarkett recycles old flooring from job sites. View it on retrofitTV under the “Manufacturer Guidance” tab.

Of course we hope the additional video content helps further engage you with the magazine, but we believe it’s even more important that these videos provide you the necessary tools to help you create better buildings.

About the Author

Christina A. Koch
Christina A. Koch is editorial director and associate publisher of retrofit.

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